Blake Leeper was talking a mile a minute on Friday evening outside Madison Square Garden, sporting that notorious flashy smile of his as he made his way down the red carpet ahead of the 2015 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.
He was like a recently opened energy drink, bouncing around on a pair of stilts.
Gold headphones around his neck and a U.S. Paralympics backpack on his posterior, the double-amputee sprinter was just excited to be there. He was representing the Paralympic Movement at one of America’s biggest sporting weekends.
“I’m going to show the world something they’ve never seen before,” said the two-time Paralympic track and field medalist prior to the game.
“A lot of people, especially in the States, don’t know much about the Paralympics, so we just have to educate them. That’s why I’m out here, to show them an American blade runner.”
Leeper, who played varsity basketball in high school and said it remains his favorite sport to this day, competed on the East team in the celebrity game, alongside the likes of comedian Kevin Hart, actor Michael Rapaport, and WNBA stars Tina Charles and Shoni Schimmel.
Prior to the game, Rapaport said he was looking forward to playing alongside Leeper more than anyone else.
“He’s considered one of the fastest men with no legs, and I’m one of the slowest men with two legs,” Rapaport joked. “So it’ll be great.”
Leeper’s East squad was coached by New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and NBA Cares Ambassador Isaiah Austin.
However, the East fell 57-51 to the West, losing to a team that included Little League phenom Mo’ne Davis, comedian Nick Cannon and WNBA star Skylar Diggins.
In 14 minutes on the court, Leeper had a three-pointer, two rebounds, three assists and three steals.